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OSF will spend grant on improving disability access

The Associated Press

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is spending a $250,000 grant on making a courtyard more accessible to people using wheelchairs, canes and walkers.

 Some areas of the steep hill leading to the courtyard of the Ashland festival can reach a pitch of 18 degrees, above the limit for wheelchair paths set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 A federal lawsuit prompted the festival to start work this year. Organizers said they'd begin the project back in 2007.

 Project manager Ted DeLong said in January that the lawsuit was meritless, but that the courtyard was in need of some improvements.

 Complying with ADA requirements is expected to cost $2 million. The quarter-million-dollar grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust adds to a $500,000 gift from Ashland residents Judy Shih and Joel Axelrod.